Mystery Solved: It’s All About The Buttons (Day 176)

(photo: Close-up of the dress I wear ALL of the time. Notice the buttons. They used to have fabric covering them. Notice the wear pattern. I think I’ve finally put two and two together.)

My sister may have saved the day. Well, my day by solving a mystery that’s nagged at me for almost twenty years. And perhaps a second mystery that rose to my consciousness just today.

She sent me a Facebook message with this article attached, “Those Tiny Holes at the Bottom of Shirts — The Culprit & The Cure” (read article here.)

I don’t remember telling her about the problem I have with holes in my shirts, but I must have. I have gone through phases where I tell anybody that will listen to me, hoping somebody will have a logical answer for me. Up until now, nobody has.

The holes are tiny and always show up in the same area, around mid-stomach, often two or three in a slightly curved line. Ever since I had kids, every time I folded clothes after laundry, I’d find those little buggers on another one of my shirts. Sometimes two shirts a load. And they wouldn’t be on anybody else’s shirts. Just mine.

I tried to blame the washer/dryer. But my husband’s shirts were hole-free. Same with my kids’ shirts.

I tried to blame the kids because when they were small, they always pulled at the middle of my shirts if they wanted me to pick them up or pay attention to them. But the holes continued to appear long after their shirt pulling phases were over.

I tried to blame myself. When I feel like my shirt is too tight, sometimes I pull at it. Maybe I was wearing out the material by stretching it. But many of the shirts with newfound holes were baggy shirts. I wouldn’t have pulled at them.

I even tried to blame the shirts. Things aren’t made as well these days. Women’s shirts are often so thin that the slightest poke could cause a hole to form. Of course, if that were true, my daughters’ shirts would show some holes. They’ve been wearing women’s clothes for several years now.

My blaming of the shirts came the closest to what the writer of the article purports to be the reason behind the holey shirts.

First off, she surprised me by claiming that “almost every mom I’ve mentioned my holey shirts to has exasperatedly shared her own frustration and bewilderment over the issue too.” This has not been true for me. Occasionally somebody I’ve confided in about the problem has admitted to the same thing happening to them. But not many. If nothing else, I’m thankful to this writer for the validation.

After going through the blaming game, much as I had, the writer went about to test some theories. This is what she came up with: “The small holes at the bottom of shirts are caused by the shirt repeatedly rubbing between a pants’ button and a hard surface all day (in my case, the kitchen counter).”

Immediately, upon reading the above line, I called bullshit.

But then I started to think about it. Paper thin t-shirts. All day long at the kitchen counter or the laundry machines or leaning over a crib (for a few of those years.) Buttons on my jeans. And I’ve noticed that I’ve had a whole lot fewer holes the last few years, since I started wearing yoga pants or pj bottoms (I know I shouldn’t admit this but they’re so comfortable and I wouldn’t wear them outside — except to get the paper or bring up the trash barrels) during the days I spend mostly at home.

The article goes on to offer a cure to the problem, which you can read about here if you’d like. It’s entertaining as well as practical and fashionable. Kind of.

I can’t seem to come up with a better reason than the one that is given in this article, so I’m going to take the leap and believe.

Meanwhile, I’ve noticed recently that the buttons on the dress I wear all the time (see photo) are unevenly worn. All the buttons used to be covered completely by fabric. Now the ones in the middle of the dress are worn to the metal.


I say not.

I also say it’s time to cough up some cash and buy myself a new dress.

What say you?


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4 thoughts on “Mystery Solved: It’s All About The Buttons (Day 176)

  1. That’s the conclusion I reached a few years ago when I found the problem. Consider: the kitchen counter (particularly at the sink) often has moisture from cleaning, using a cutting board, etc. that may contain damaging substances. I have taken to wearing an apron as much as possible when I am working in the kitchen. I’ll let you know my findings in 10-15 years!

  2. I too came to the same conclusion several years ago. I tuck the front my shirt into my pants when I’m at the counter and things are much, much better. Now the problem is that I frequently look like a big dork because I can’t seem to remember to untuck when I’m done. At least I’m a big dork with unholy shirts so I think there’s hope.

    1. I stopped caring about being a big dork these last few years. I yam what I yam. You too. (Not saying you’re a big dork, though)

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